By Pat Beck, St. Peter Herald
The St. Peter Saints town team combined nine hits with eight walks to defeat the Prior Lake Jays 11-1 in seven innings Sunday at Veterans Field.
“We waited for good pitches, we took our walks, and we got hits when we needed them,” St. Peter manager Tom Lacina said.
Lead-off hitter Sam Wenner led the attack, going 2 for 4 with two stolen bases, two RBIs and a run scored.
“They’ve got some talent,” Lacina said. “They just need to play some ball and get used to wooden bats. It gives us a lot more speed. That’s for sure. We’ve got more depth.”
The Saints (7-6, 2-3) have eight straight River Valley League games remaining. St. Peter hosts Belle Plaine at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Henderson at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, travels to Henderson at 5 p.m. Saturday, hosts Gaylord at 6 p.m. Sunday, hosts Jordan at 7:30 p.m. July 16, hosts Arlington at 7:30 p.m. July 19 and travels to Fairfax at 6 p.m. July 21 and 7:30 p.m. July 23 at Le Sueur.
Jeff Menk also batted 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run.
Five other Saints had a hit each: Andy Regner (1-2, two walks, RBI, two runs); Jovan Rodriguez (1-2, two walks, two RBIs, two runs); Austin Pinke (1-3, double, walk, two RBIs, one run); Billy Hanson (1-3); and Tyson Sowder (1-2, walk, run).
St. Peter starting pitcher Sam Carlson (2-2) threw three innings, giving up one earned run on four hits, one walk and two strikeouts to earn the victory.
Kevin Sandborg finished up the last four innings with no runs on three hits, one walk and one strikeout.
“We threw strikes and played pretty good defense,” Lacina said.
Lacina said he used two pitchers because the Saints have nine games in 16 days. “We had two more pitchers (Jeremy Braun and Regner) scheduled if it had gone to the ninth inning.”
The Jays scored their lone run in the first inning, taking a 1-0 lead on a double by Mitchell Goodwin, a sacrifice bunt by Ben Eisenberg and a double by Tyler Buescher.
The Saints took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third when Menk singled, Sowder hit a sacrifice bunt, Wenner reached on an error and stole second, and Rodriguez drove in Menk and Wenner on a single to center.
St. Peter upped its lead to 5-1 with three runs in the fifth. Sowder led off with a single, Wenner sacrifice bunted him to second, Regner singled down the third-baseline to score Sowder, Rodriguez walked, Shea Roehrkasse hit a sacrifice fly to right to advance Regner and Rodriguez to second and third, and they scored on a two-RBI double to left center by Pinke.
The Saints ended the game on the 10-run lead rule with four runs in the seventh on two hits, five walks, a hit by pitch and and four wild pitches. Regner led off with a walk, went to second on a wild pitch, Rodriguez walked, a wild pitch scored Regner and advanced Rodriquez to third, Roehrkasse and Pinke walked to load the bases, a wild pitch scored Rodriguez, CJ Siewert walked, a wild pitch scored Roehrkasse, Alex Hoehn was hit by a pitch, Menke reached on a infield hit to drive in Pinke, and Wenner singled in Siewert and Hoehn to finish the scoring.
St. Peter has four new players this season: Sowder and Hunter Wilmes off the St. Peter High School team and Carlson and Walker Froehling off town teams from St. James and Hanska. Both are St. James graduates.
The Region 6C playoffs begin July 28, with two play-in games July 27. There are 16 teams in the region with eight from the RVL and eight from the 13-60 League. They will play crossover games in the first round at the high seeds. It continues the next two weekends Aug. 3-4 and 10-11.